When Plato died in 347 BC, Aristotle moved to
Assos, a city in Asia Minor, where a friend of his, Hermias (d. 345 BC),
was ruler. There he counseled Hermias and married his niece and adopted
daughter, Pythias. After Hermias was captured and executed by the Persians,
Aristotle went to Pella, the Macedonian capital, where he became the tutor
of the king's young son Alexander, later known as Alexander the Great.
In 335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle returned
to Athens and established his own school, the Lyceum. Because much of the
discussion in his school took place while teachers and students were walking
about the Lyceum grounds, Aristotle's school came to be known as the Peripatetic
("walking" or "strolling") school. Upon the death of Alexander in 323 BC,
strong anti-Macedonian feeling developed in Athens, and Aristotle retired
to a family estate in Euboea. He died there the following year.
Aristotle, like Plato, made regular use of the dialogue
in his earliest years at the Academy, but lacking Plato's imaginative gifts,
he probably never found the form congenial. Apart from a few fragments
in the works of later writers, his dialogues have been wholly lost. Aristotle
also wrote some short technical notes, such as a dictionary of philosophic
terms and a summary of the doctrines of Pythagoras. Of these, only a few
brief excerpts have survived. Still extant, however, are Aristotle's lecture
notes for carefully outlined courses treating almost every branch of knowledge
and art. The texts on which Aristotle's reputation rests are largely based
on these lecture notes, which were collected and arranged by later editors.
The influence of Aristotle's philosophy has been pervasive;
it has even helped to shape modern language and common sense. His doctrine
of the Prime Mover as final cause played an important role in theology.
Until the 20th century, logic meant Aristotle's logic. Until the Renaissance,
and even later, astronomers and poets alike admired his concept of the
universe. Zoology rested on Aristotle's work until Charles Darwin modified
the doctrine of the changelessness of species in the 19th century. In the
20th century a new appreciation has developed of Aristotle's method and
its relevance to education, literary criticism, the analysis of human action,
and political analysis.
Not only the discipline of zoology, but the world
of learning as a whole, seems to amply justify Darwin's remark that the
intellectual heroes of his own time "were mere schoolboys compared to old